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New venue for Miss Lizzy's Tea
By Bryan Jessop

Whatever the location or specific cause, ‘supporters of cancer patients’ is a description that fits Miss Lizzy’s Foundation to a ‘tea’.

The organization hosted the ninth annual Miss Lizzy’s Tea Sunday, June 3 in support of its tradition of improving the lives of cancer patients — and their families — throughout the Leamington region and beyond. This year’s Tea was the first to be held at The Leamington Portuguese Club, a change made out of necessity to accommodate the event’s growing popularity.

The 2018 edition of Miss Lizzy’s Tea sold tickets at $50 each and also raised funds through the sale of tickets for a table full of raffle items, a silent auction and the sale of fascinators and other elegant hats. The event was spearheaded by Miss Lizzy’s Foundation president Sarah Edwards, who accepted the position from her mother and organization founder Liz Delciancio, who passed away in late April of last year.

Last year’s Tea raised in excess of $31,000, thanks in part to several community donations and in memoriam contributions made following Liz’s passing. This year’s total was not available by press deadline, but organizers were pleased with the 2018 turnout and showings of support.

“It’s a new venue for us, and it’s working out well,” said Edwards, now living in Toronto. “There’s a lot of open space, the raffle’s a big hit again and a lot of people are buying hats too, which is good to see as well.”

The fundraiser is also supported by a gathering of sponsors who provide flowers, centerpieces, door prizes, stationary, music and other crucial items and services. The Portuguese Club offered its venue and services without charge.

“We rely heavily on our sponsors,” said Edwards. “Without them, we couldn’t hold this event. They all give their time to help keep costs down so that more money can go towards different initiatives.”

Miss Lizzy’s Tea was organized by the foundation’s four-member board of directors and ran by a team of about 30 volunteers including friends and members of the Delciancio family. Those contributing to the program included a team of male volunteers who escorted guests to their tables and served them tea, scones and other sweets.

“That part was my wife’s idea and the ladies just love it,” said Liz’s husband Gino Delciancio. “It’s nice for the women to have a chance to be served by the men.”

Last year’s proceeds went toward the refurbishing of Erie Shores Heath Care’s Oncology Suite, a project Liz began before her death. This year, funds generated by the Tea will be offered in support of Erie Shores Hospice, which includes a garden and tea room funded by the foundation. In a speech addressing guests, Edwards explained that Erie Shores Hospice accommodations are free to involved families and require $400,000 in funding each year to function.

Miss Lizzy’s Tea began after Liz and Sarah made a trip to England, where they attended a tea part that triggered the idea of offering something similar back at home in support of local cancer patients. The first Tea was held at the Delciancio residence and was attended by 25 guests. From there, it was relocated to the Roma Club pavilion. After drawing larger crowds, it was moved into the Roma Club’s main banquet room — also without a rental charge — until a larger location was once again required.



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